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California developer's plans to remodel former Crafty Fox building stalled again

Although the Planning Commission has yet to get enough members present to vote on the plan for the downtown building that city officials are eager to move forward with, Geri Beck, CEO of the MADC and Mitchell Area Chamber of Commerce, said she’s confident that the delay on Monday won’t hamper Adamo’s plans to remodel the building.

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A California developer is seeking to remodel the former Crafty Fox building at 223 N. Main St. in Mitchell, which is shown here in the heart of downtown Mitchell. (Matt Gade / Republic)

Once again, the Planning and Zoning Commission didn’t have enough members present on Monday to vote on a California developer’s plan to remodel the former Crafty Fox building.

While the California developer, John Adamo, is proposing to remodel the 223 N. Main St. building into a mixture of 30 loft apartments and a restaurant on the main floor, the plan was removed from the agenda on Monday since there weren’t enough members of the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission present to legally vote. Commission Doug Molumby was absent on Monday.

At the Aug. 9 meeting, the Planning Commission had to turn the remodeling plans for the Crafty Fox building into a discussion item due to a lack of a quorum, meaning not enough members were present to vote. The same scenario occurred Monday, as there were only three members of the seven-person board to legally vote on the plans.

Mitchell’s Planning and Zoning Commission is made up of seven members, but one was absent Monday, while three of the members who were present -- Larry Jirsa, Kevin Genzlinger and Jon Osterloo -- removed themselves from voting on the proposed plan, citing conflict of interest since they are working with the developer on the remodeling project. That meant three members on the board were able to vote Monday. Under state law, a city board made up of seven members must have at least four present to legally vote on agenda items and take action during a respective meeting, which is known as a quorum.

The plans to develop the former Crafty Fox building come after the city recently settled a lawsuit with the previous property owners who alleged the city of Mitchell took ownership of the nuisance building in 2019 through threats and conspiracy that violated their civil rights, to which the city denied and countered with a lawsuit of its own. Now that the lawsuit that took two years to settle is settled, the city recently transferred the building to the Mitchell Area Development Corporation (MADC) with the City Council’s approval. That means the MADC can sell the building to Adamo to allow his remodeling plans to materialize.

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Although the Planning Commission has yet to get enough members present to vote on the plan for the downtown building that city officials are eager to move forward with, Geri Beck, CEO of the MADC and Mitchell Area Chamber of Commerce, said she’s confident that the delay on Monday won’t hamper Adamo’s plans to remodel the building.

“Everything is still moving forward on our end,” Beck said following Monday’s Planning Commission meeting.

During the Aug. 9 Planning Commission meeting, commission member Larry Jirsa, who is serving as an architect for Adamo’s remodeling plans at the Crafty Fox building, emphasized work needs to begin as soon as possible. The city recently fixed the corroding windows along the building and repaired the roof.

The Planning Commission could vote on the renovation plans at its next meeting that would take in two weeks unless a special meeting is called before then. However, there would need to be at least four members of the Planning Commission present.

Sam Fosness joined the Mitchell Republic in May 2018. He was raised in Mitchell, S.D., and graduated from Mitchell High School. He continued his education at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where he graduated in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in English. During his time in college, Fosness worked as a news and sports reporter for The Volante newspaper.
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